The Edge of the Unknown

Several years ago, I encountered a middle-aged French poet who was a regular speaker on France's cultural talk-show circuit. Now, it so happened that she was delivering some poetry lectures near the school where I taught, and was a friend of a friend, so we eventually made contact over some expresso and dark chocolate in a crowded café to chat about writing.

In the course of our discussion, I learned that she --like myself-- had suffered from migraines. However, she was proud to note that she no longer had them. Always curious as to how others avoid them (they are often caused by certain types of foods, or environmental conditions), I asked her how she overcame that curse. Her response was clear and straight-faced: "I was cured by a psychic." She then got up, walked behind me, firmly gripped my head, and started moaning aloud.

You see, despite the fact that her poetry was quite well-received by the literati, it was her new calling as a psychic that lured her out of bed at noon and dominated her dinner conversations among the black turtleneck crowd. At that moment, with dozens of coffee-sipping Francophones staring curiously at us, she decided to psychically "extract" my pain. Hence the moaning. Apparently, it hurt.

Getting Crafts Done with CraftMemo

I envy organizational web tools like BackpackIt and activeCollab. They keep track of all sorts of great projects from website design to book projects. Even 43 Things is a nifty site that helps me keep a list of all the interesting things I want to do throughout my life and links them up with others who have similar goals. I've got accounts on them all and have tried to use them for my crafting needs, but when it comes right down to it, modifying these great systems for use in art projects just doesn't work as well. Last week, that all changed for me. Enter CraftMemo, the latest organizational web tool to emerge. This website finally gives us artsy types an online tool to track our projects, materials and favorite vendors (online and off) in one handy place.

I'll admit, I was skeptical at first. But being the productivity and online tool addict that I am, I went ahead and created my own account. And after looking around at all the things I could do with this site, and seeing the potential of what this site holds, I was hooked.

10 Ways to Alter Your Planner

Altering books is a new art form that appeared a few years ago. In it, you breathe new life into an old or unused book by collaging, writing, painting and drawing or crafting niches into the book itself. In essence, you turn it into a piece of art. If artists can turn books into a work of art, it stands to reason that you too can alter your planner to match your personality more. Planners make great altered book projects because they track your progress over a year as well as your personality in one book. Instead of throwing out your planner pages every year, why not change them into wild works of art that become keepsakes and scrapbooks of your lives.

In honor of my birthday which coincides with today's post, I thought it'd be fun to list out 10 different ways you can spice up or alter your planner or journal to make it match your personality more. Even though I may sometimes act only 10, these are some fun and fast things you can do to add a bit of creative fun into your planners and journals.

Writing when the moments drag...

As I tap out these words on my old laptop, I'm balancing atop a rickety wooden barstool pulled up to my kitchen counter, because I don't have a desk or table. The knees of my long legs are pressed uncomfortably against the cabinets at a spread far wider than my shoulders, and my elbows are held upwards and outwards as I try to figure out how best to type. Sitting here alone, in a big empty house without any furniture, television, or Internet, well... ergonomics is really the last thing on my mind. I'm trying to trip across a topic, by design or by accident, that will somehow unlock my highly impeded creative flow so I can write an article. Locksley, my faithful hound, is keeping me company, but he cocks his head to one side as I shuffle my buttocks precariously on the stool, then --assuming I'm about to fall-- takes a step back. He's well trained.

Getting Noticed

Looking for a new job is hard work. Not only can local markets be job depleted but selling yourself to potential employers can leave you feeling restless and unworthy. It’s important to make a great first impression, but it’s hard to make yourself look good when your personality gets distilled down to 2 thin sheets of paper. Resumés help you get noticed. But when employers try and find the diamonds from the two foot tall stack of "best impressions", yours might get lost in the sea of words. So, here’s a few tips on getting your resumé to the top of the stack and noticed by the potential employers without using your favorite pink scented paper and internet l33t speak.

A Little Help from My Friends

Writing this column isn't always as easy as it seems. Sometimes I come up with wild and creative ideas; but many times my mind draws a blank and I'm left without ideas. It happens mostly when the unexpected crops up in my life or I lose track of time and cannot think about anything. When this happens, before I turn to the tarot or to my writing books (which are usually not at hand when I go to start brainstorming ideas for the weekly articles), I turn to my friends. Friendstorming, or the art of generating ideas with a little help of your friends has helped me generate ideas in ways that I'm not sure I would've found otherwise.

Something Up My Sleeve

innowen's giving up her Thursday slot to give John Norris the spotlight. Once again, he's back with more envelope pushing D*I*Y Planner goodness.

This time it's a planner for your wrist.

OK, all those who write on their hands, raise them up!

Don't be shy...

What? Too cheap for a wrist PDA? Think D*I*Y Planner technology for your hand is a joke or worse?(sfw)

Well, suffer no more! Read on to find out more about this wonderful device and where you can get it.

Make Your Statement

Many of us meander through life wondering if we can do more, be more and what we can do to leave our mark. We question our place in this hectic world of corporations and consumerism. We seek ways to refine and redefine our true selves. I know I do. I go through phases where I wonder if the path I live makes me happy. If the company I work for helps me to become the person I want to be tomorrow. If the answers of who I am and whether my creative projects align with the mark I desire to leave upon this world. My personal "I was HERE" stamp. My life consists deeply of weaving my career, home and spiritual path into a cohesive whole. Creating a personal mission statement can help ensure who you are and what you do continues to blend harmoniously together.

Personal mission statements reflect an individual's sense of purpose and meaning in life. It defines who you are, what you want to focus on, and how you can mold yourself over time. It's a tool that can help focus your energy, actions and decisions towards the things you think are most important. Your mission statement should touch upon what you want to focus on and who you want to become as a person in this part of your life. It can become a road map to achieving your goals and dreams.

A Well Balanced Pie

Sometimes I feel like there's never enough time in a day to get everything done. I get up, go to work, come home and do housework and D*I*Y Planner duties and then play World of Warcraft (when there's time). I always feel like my To Do list gets fatter and fuller and longer and it never shrinks. I'm finding it hard to strike a balance in my life between all the roles and responsibilities I have. So, what does someone do when their overwhelmed? Well, in my case, I turned to pies.

I wish I could tell you how yummy these pies are, with a soft, moist, and warm apple center and light, flakey crust. But I can't. You see... I'd be lying (and gaining an unhealthy amount of weight) if it were to those pies I turned to every time I felt swamped and overwhelmed in life. No, I'm talking about cooking up and comparing a few pie charts to help you get a bigger and better picture of where you spend your time and how you envision the perfectly balanced life. I'll even make it easier by giving you the recipe and detailed instructions. All you need to do is add your dreams, time, and patience.